Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum is joining the call for a special session on medical marijuana.
Gillum’s campaign spokesperson, Geoff Burgan, told Sunshine State News Thursday Gillum fully supports lawmakers coming back to Tallahassee to hammer out a regulatory system for medical cannabis.
“We're supportive of a special session -- it's time for the Legislature to stop wasting time on an initiative that passed with 71 percent of the vote,” Burgan said.
Medical marijuana was one of the top issues during this year’s legislative session, with lawmakers working feverishly to pass a bill implementing Amendment 2. For months, legislators debated over the best system to provide medical cannabis to needy Floridians.
Legislators could not agree on how many retail facilities medical marijuana treatment centers should be allowed to open at the eleventh hour.
With no compromise in sight, lawmakers killed off the bill, packed their bags and went home.
An overwhelming majority -- 71 percent -- of Florida voters approved Amendment 2, which expands the use of medical marijuana to Floridians with “debilitating” medical conditions like PTSD, HIV, epilepsy and other disorders.
Gillum is now one of several other gubernatorial candidates calling for a special session to regulate the drug. Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam and Orlando attorney John Morgan, who largely spearheaded Amendment 2 both last year and in 2014, have all said a special session is necessary to move forward with implementing Amendment 2.
Calls have grown louder from both sides of the aisle over medical marijuana, with both Democrats and Republicans saying the time is now for lawmakers to finish the job voters entrusted them to do.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, said earlier this month he wanted lawmakers to hammer out a solution as soon as possible.
“I believe there should be a special session on medical marijuana,” he said.
Lawmakers quickly began responding, saying Corcoran was on the right track in his calls for a special session.
“I agree with @richardcorcoran,” Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, wrote earlier this week. “I support a special session to address medical marijuana implementation.”
Gov. Rick Scott and the legislature can call a special session over medical marijuana. Sources close to the legislative process have told Sunshine State News a special session is “very likely,” but it’s uncertain when it would actually occur.
If lawmakers can’t reach an agreement on medical pot, it will be up to the Department of Health to figure out how to regulate the state’s medical marijuana industry before July 3.